UC Merced’s Total Grant and Contract Activity Tops $15 Million

Researchers expended $5.48 million last fiscal year alone, contributing to economy and advancing knowledge

MERCED - Although students at the University of California, Merced, only started classes this month, many of the university's professors and staff members have been hard at work for more than two years. Their efforts are paying off. In its short lifetime so far, UC Merced has brought in more than $15 million in grants and contracts for research and other programs, mostly from federal agencies. The university spent $5.48 million of that money in the fiscal year 2004-4005, bringing in equipment and staff members and helping to fuel the local and regional economy.

"We're extremely proud of what our faculty and staff brings into UC Merced in research grants and contracts. The ultimate measure of the university's positive impact is the role that these dollars have on both students and the local, regional and world communities," said Keith Alley, vice chancellor for research at UC Merced. "The benefits come in many forms, from cutting edge education to the development of new technologies and employment opportunities in the local community."

More than 70 externally sponsored grants and contracts contributed to the $5.48 million spending total at UC Merced, including projects in all three academic schools: Natural Sciences; Engineering; and Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Natural Sciences, which includes the already-thriving Sierra Nevada Research Institute, spent the most - $2.46 million in the '04-'05 fiscal year. Planned research institutes in World Cultures, Energy and Systems Biology are expected to grow in coming years, adding to the research-related productivity of UC Merced.

In addition to university research, grants fund programs that directly benefit the community. Some of these are academic preparation efforts that reach out to Central Valley communities, such as the Parent Empowerment Program and the Gear Up! Program, both of which are run by UC Merced's Center for Educational Partnerships. These programs help area students prepare for higher education. Another community program, the Small Business Development Center, helps entrepreneurs with tasks like creating business plans and obtaining loans to start new enterprises in the area, creating jobs for others in the process.

Salaries make up 30 percent of the expenses in UC Merced's grant and contract spending activity. Salary and other dollars stay in the local economy to cycle through housing, retail and other avenues that benefit the regional economy, since professors and other members of research teams make their homes in Merced and surrounding area.

While federal sources account for most of the grant and contract spending activity at UC Merced with $4.56 million, other types of grants and contracts also contribute to the total. State dollars added up to more than $650,000, and industry and foundation sources each played a role with more than $100,000 each.

"We expect continued growth in research funding, and the opportunities it affords, as our faculty grows in the coming years," Alley said.

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